Jewish weddings are rich in traditional practices and rituals, making them meaningful and emotional events. If you are attending such an occasion, make sure that you know the best way to celebrate with the couple so that you don’t draw attention to yourself or distract the event altogether.
It’s not every day that you get to attend a wedding culture different from yours. So, it could be an excellent opportunity to discover a culture and get mesmerized at how they put meaning in the celebration of union. However, it could also be challenging because not knowing what to expect can make you feel out of place. It might even make you act weird or dress inappropriately for the event.
Here is a guideline on how to prepare for a Jewish wedding, plus a sneak peek at standard practices you can expect at the ceremony and reception.
What to wear
A wedding is a formal event and may require you to wear something, well, formal. That’s the same case with Jewish weddings. Find out the time and where the wedding is being held so you can dress for the occasion appropriately.
Other than that, women should remember not to choose a white ensemble as it could upstage the bride. If the wedding is set in a Jewish temple and is quite the traditional type, they will have to cover themselves from the collarbone to their shoulders and elbows. Their skirts or dresses must also fall below the knee. If you think wearing a Hebrew necklace would make you feel like you are one with the crowd, go ahead. There are lots of charming Jewish jewelry designs to choose from anyway. Men, on the other hand, can wear a simple outfit consisting of a long sleeve shirt, jacket, tie, and long pants.
Wear something Jewish
There may be additional articles of clothing, like kippah (skullcaps for men or lace head cover for women) that the organizers may ask you to wear in an orthodox celebration, but they are usually provided at the venue, so you will not have to worry. Just wear the kippah as instructed, and you are good.
How to enjoy a Jewish wedding
Jewish weddings may differ slightly from the next, depending on the couple’s background. But traditionally, it would have a pre-ceremony program, known as kabbalat panim, where the bride and groom meet their guests in separate rooms. Some couples choose to fast the day before the wedding until their first meal together as husband and wife, but guests may share light refreshments during kabbalat panim.
Jewish weddings last for about 25 to 45 minutes, filled with colorful and meaningful traditions, including the ring exchange, which, interestingly, features Hebrew rings with no stones and other adornments. In Jewish belief, the ring is the purchase price for the bride, so it has to be pure silver, gold, or platinum because that’s the true measure of its value.
No matter how many things about Jewish weddings you are not familiar with, make sure to enjoy them from start to finish. Celebrate the couple’s happiness. That’s the point of your attendance anyway.
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